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lunes, 31 de marzo de 2014


John Hollander

John Hollander (28 de octubre de 1929 - 17 de agosto de 2013) fue un poeta y crítico literario. En el momento de su muerte, era Sterling Profesor Emérito de Inglés en la Universidad de Yale, después de haber enseñado antes en la Connecticut College, Hunter College y el Graduate Center, CUNY.

Nació en la ciudad de Nueva York, sus padres fueron Muriel (Kornfeld) y Franklin Hollander, unos inmigrantes judíos. Hollander asistió a Columbia College de la Universidad de Columbia, donde estudió con Mark Van Doren y Lionel Trilling, y se superpuso con Allen Ginsberg. Después de graduarse, se apoyó por algún tiempo escribiendo notas para álbumes de música clásica antes de volver a obtener un doctorado en la literatura.
Hollander residía en Woodbridge, Connecticut, donde se desempeñó como juez de varios concursos de recitación de la escuela secundaria, y dijo que le gustaba trabajar con los estudiantes en la poesía y la enseñanza. Hizo hincapié en la importancia de escuchar poemas en voz alta: "Un buen poema satisface el oído. Crea una historia o una imagen que te atrapa, que te informa y entretiene".

Premios y honores

2006: Appointed Poet Laureate del Estado de Connecticut5 (term ended in 2011)
2006: Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award
2002: Philolexian Award for Distinguished Literary Achievement
1990: MacArthur Fellowship
1983: Bollingen Prize por Powers of Thirteen.
1979: elegido miembro de la American Academy of Arts and Letters Departmento de Literatura
1958: Yale Series of Younger Poets para su primer libro de poemas, A Crackling of Thorns, elegido por W. H. Auden.


A Crackling of Thorns (1958) poemas
The Untuning of the Sky (1961)
The Wind and the Rain (1961) editor con Harold Bloom
Movie-Going (1962) poemas
Philomel (1964) "text cantata" para la composición del mismo nombre por el compositor estadounidense Milton Babbitt
Visions from the Ramble (1965) poemas
Jiggery-Pokery: A Compendium of Double Dactyls (1967) con Anthony Hecht
Types of Shape (1969, 1991) poemas
Images of Voice (1970) crítica
The Night Mirror (1971) poemas
Town and Country Matters (1972) poemas
The Head of the Bed (1974) poemas
Tales Told of the Fathers (1975) poemas
Vision and Resonance (1975) crítica
Reflections on Espionage (1976) poemas
Spectral Emanations: New and Selected Poems (1978)
Blue Wine (1979) poemas
The Figure of Echo (1981) crítica
Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse (1981, 1989, 2001) Manual de prosodia
Powers of Thirteen (1983) poemas
In Time and Place (1986) poemas
Harp Lake (1988) poemas
Melodious Guile: Fictive Pattern in Poetic Language (1988)
Some Fugitives Take Cover (1988) poemas
Tesserae and Other Poems (1993)
Selected Poetry (1993)
Animal Poems (1994) poemas
The Gazer's Spirit: Poems Speaking to Silent Works of Art (1995) crítica
The Work of Poetry (1997) criticism
Figurehead and Other Poems (1999) poemas
Picture Window (2003)
The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, American Poetry: The Nineteenth Century, editor
Poems Bewitched and Haunted (2005) editor
A Draft of Light (2008), poemas
Sonnets. From Dante to the present, Everyman's library pocket poets.


Los oigo a través de los párpados por debajo del oscuro cristal, 
Árboles se mecen en su andrajoso follaje, adentrándose 
En el frágil sueño del viento que ronca.

Un sueño de bosques muy dentro del sueño
Como pájaros encaramados en lo alto del ominoso bosque,
Pensativos sobre las quebradas hojas, pudieran hablar de

Cómo elevarse más allá del dolor de la rama desgajada 
Que fluye y palpita no al ritmo de la bahía 
Sino al compás de oscuras arboledas, como si

Un ave en vuelo herido se desplazara a sitios 
Cubiertos, huyera y regresara a intervalos, 
Marcada por quebrados hálitos bramando

Al compás de su aliento, oídos dentro de su propio bosque,
Su propio hondo bosque, donde ondulantes, las primeras palabras
Nacen, envueltas en capullos que lentos se abren.


Más allá de las frías montañas azules y más 
Aún, andaremos las pálidas colinas cuando 
Las sombras abandonen los montes

Y la silenciosa luz del mediodía, inmutable durante 
Horas, días, sea atravesada solo por nuestras 
Desleídas manchas, solo por el tenue

Canto del grillo. Entonces, lo que oímos se
Convierte en lo que vemos, el gris; el viento cercándonos;
El hálito del álamo; las tristes lápidas, a la espera.

¿Había espacio? Había espacio
Para alcanzar el fin del verano donde
En racimo, las uvas azules penden de una campana rota,

O a lo lejos, allá, en el campo, el enjambre 
De abejas en un casco de metal fabricando 
Miel, gotas de bronce, bálsamo luminoso.

John Hollander
(Traducción: Jeannette L. Clariond)


Heard through lids slammed down over darkened glass, 
Trees shift in their tattered sheets, tossing in 
Shallow sleep underneath the snoring wind.

A dream of forests far inside such sleep
As wakeful birds perched high in a dread wood,
Brooding over torn leaves, might mutter of

Rises over the pain of a snapped twig
That ebbs and throbs not with a shore rhythm
But with the pulsings of dark groves —as if

A bird of hurting swept over hooded 
Places, fled, and at intervals returned— 
Clocked by the broken aspirates roaring

Along their own wind> heard within their wood, 
Their own deep wood, where, fluttering, first words 
Emerge, wrapped in slowly unfolding leaves.


Beyond the cold, blue mountain and beyond 
That, we shall wander on the pale hills when 
Shadows give over bending along the

Slopes, and the silent midday light, unchanged 
For hours and days, is pierced only by our 
Two moving specks, only by the cricket's

Warm humming. Then, what we hear becoming 
What we see, the gray; the wind enclosing; 
The poplars' breath; the sad, waiting chambers.

Will there have been room? There will have been room 
To come upon the end of summer where 
Clustered, blue grapes hang in a shattered bell,

Or there, in a far, distant field, a swarm 
Of bees in a helmet, metal yielding 
Honey, balmy drops glistening on bronze.


An Old-Fashioned Song

No more walks in the wood:
The trees have all been cut
Down, and where once they stood
Not even a wagon rut
Appears along the path
Low brush is taking over.

No more walks in the wood;
This is the aftermath
Of afternoons in the clover
Fields where we once made love
Then wandered home together
Where the trees arched above,
Where we made our own weather
When branches were the sky.
Now they are gone for good,
And you, for ill, and I
Am only a passer-by.

We and the trees and the way
Back from the fields of play
Lasted as long as we could.
No more walks in the wood. 

The Mad Potter

Now at the turn of the year this coil of clay
Bites its own tail: a New Year starts to choke
On the old one's ragged end.I bite my tongue
As the end of me--of my rope of stuff and nonsense
(The nonsense held, it was the stuff that broke),
Of bones and light, of levity and crime,
Of reddish clay and hope--still bides its time.

Each of my pots is quite unusable,
Even for contemplating as an object
Of gross unuse.In its own mode of being
Useless, though, each of them remains unique,
Subject to nothing, and themselves unseeing,
Stronger by virtue of what makes them weak.

I pound at all my clay.I pound the air.
This senseless lump, slapped into something like
Something, sits bound around by my despair.
For even as the great Creator's free
Hand shapes the forms of life, so--what?This pot,
Unhollowed solid, too full of itself,
Runneth over with incapacity.
I put it with the others on the shelf.

These tiny cups will each provide one sip
Of what's inside them, aphoristic prose
Unwilling, like full arguments, to make
Its points, then join them in extended lines
Like long draughts from the bowl of a deep lake.
The honey of knowledge, like my milky slip,
Firms slowly up against what merely flows.

Some of my older pieces bore inscriptions
That told a story only when you'd learned
How not to read them: LIVE reverted to EVIL,
EROS kept running backwards into SORE.
Their words, all fired up for truth, got burned.
I'll not write on weak vessels any more.

My juvenalia?I gave them names
In those days: Hans was all handles and no spout;
Bernie believed the whole world turned about
Himself alone; Sadie was close to James
(But Herman touched her bottom when he could);
Paul fell to pieces; Peter wore away
To nothing; Len was never any good;
Alf was a flat, random pancake, May
An opened blossom; Bud was an ash-tray.
Even their names break off, though; Whatsisface,
That death-mask of Desire, and--you know!--
The smaller version of that (Oh, what was it?--
You know . . .)All of my pots now have to go
By number only.Which is no disgrace.

Begin with being--in an anagram
Of unending--conclude in some dark den;
This is no matter.What I've been, I am:
What I will be is what I make of all
This clay, this moment. Now begin again . . .
Poured out of emptiness, drop by slow drop,
I start up at the quarreling sounds of water.
Pots cry out silently at me to stop.

What are we like? A barrelfull of this
Oozy wet substance, shadow-crammed, whose smudges
Of darkness lurk within but rise to kiss
The fingers that disturb the gently edges
Of their bland world of shapelessness and bliss.

The half-formed cup cries out in agony,
The lump of clay suffers a silent pain.
I heard the cup, though, full of feeling, say
"O clay be true, O clay keep constant to
Your need to take, again and once again,
This pounding from your mad creator who
Only stops hurting when he's hurting you."

What will I then have left behind me?Over
The years I have originated some
Glazes that wear away at what they cover
And weep for what they never can become.
My Deadware, widely imitated; blue
Skyware of an amazing lightness; tired
Hopewear that I abandoned for my own
Good reasons; Hereware; Thereware; ware that grew
Weary of everything that earth desired;
Hellware that dances while it's being fired,
Noware that vanishes while being thrown.

Appearing to be silly, wisdom survives
Like tribes of superseded gods who go
Hiding in caves of triviality
From which they laughingly control our lives.
So with my useless pots: safe from the blow
Of carelessness, or outrage at their flaws,
They brave time's lion and his smashing paws.
--All of which tempts intelligence to call
Pure uselessness one more commodity.
The Good-for-Nothing once became our Hero,
But images of him, laid-back, carelessly
Laughing, were upright statues after all.
From straight above, each cup adds up to zero.

Clay to clay: Soon I shall indeed become
Dumb as these solid cups of hardened mud
(Dull terra cruda colored like our blood);
Meanwhile the slap and thump of palm and thumb
On wet mis-shapenness begins to hum
With meaning that was silent for so long.
The words of my wheel's turning come to ring
Truer than Truth itself does, my great 
Ding Dong-an-sich that echoes everything
(Against it even lovely bells ring wrong):
Its whole voice gathers up the purest parts
Of all our speech, the vowels of the earth,
The aspirations of our hopeful hearts
Or the prophetic sibilance of song. 

John Hollander

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